On Saturday afternoon, the Bears were put to the test by SMU but withstood a poor first half to defeat the Mustangs, 40-13 at McLane Stadium.
It was an uncharacteristic start for the Bears as Senior QB Seth Russell has trouble with accuracy. SMU did a great job of pressuring Russell into some poor passes and the Mustangs defensive line held the powerful Bears rushing attack in the first half.
The Ponies, however, were not having trouble moving the ball early. Redshirt freshman, Ben Hicks, got the start in place of injured starter Matt Davis. The young QB showed poise in the pocket and made great reads to put the Mustangs in great position to score. The issue for SMU in the first half, though, was several key mistakes, many which kept SMU from scoring TDs.
All told, the first half was seemingly the worst half of football the Bears have played since this offensive system was installed 8 years ago. Penalties, turnovers, missed assignments and what seemed like an overall lack of interest, kept the Bears and Mustangs tied up at 6 apiece going into halftime.
In the second half, things seemed to straighten out and the Bears were able to execute like Baylor fans have come to expect. The defense was able to make adjustments to the run game and put a little more pressure on the offense. Hicks, who had a great first half, was forced to make quicker decisions and had trouble with accuracy based off of the pressure. Orion Steward picked of two Ben Hicks passes, one that saved a TD and one that he himself returned for a TD. Junior safety Davion Hall, also got in on the action as he intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it to about midfield, which sparked a Bears score.
The Bears offense settled down and QB Seth Russell was able to connect with a few Bears and also got into the end zone himself. Senior RB Shock Linwood, who needed just over 100 yds to break a school record for career rushing yards, was cut short by injury. Linwood was kept out the rest of the game for precautionary reasons, but isn't expected to miss time at all.
The Bears return to the field on Friday for a night game against the Rice Owls, in Houston. The game will be televised on ESPN at 7 pm.